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Tutt Library Research Guides

Education: Empirical v. Theoretical

Empirical or Theoretical?

Empirical: Based on data gathered by original experiments or observations.

Theoretical: Analyzes and makes connections between empirical studies to define or advance a theoretical position.

How Can I Tell if an Article is Empirical?

Check for these components:

  • Peer-reviewed
  • Charts, graphs, tables, and/or statistical analyses
  • More than 5 pages
  • Sections with names like: Abstract, Introduction, Literature Review, Method, Data, Analysis, Results, Discussion, References

Look for visual cues of data collection and analysis:

Where Can I Find Empirically-Based Education Articles?

The most direct route is to search PsycINFO. Select Advanced Search, enter your topic, and then select Empirical Study in the Methodology menu.

 

In other databases without the Methodology limiter, such as Education Source, try keywords like empirical, study, and research.

Empirical Research Cycle

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

A visual representation of A.D. de Groot's empirical cycle. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Page content courtesy of M. Denise Dimsdale, Georgia State University Libraries. See their guide.

Tutt Library, Colorado College      Research Help Desk: 719-389-6662, Texting: 719-387-5441, E-mail: tuttref@ColoradoCollege.edu